The Corner

I’m Not Cool

As some of you have suspected from Wednesday’s syndicated column, the reaction to the San Francisco fiasco by the gay rights left has made me more sympathetic to a constitutional amendment, though not necessarily to the one(s) kicking around right now. Jonathan Rauch proposes one I could certainly live with in Nick Schulz’s piece. Blogger Justin Katz makes the case a great many readers have made to me, which is that given current trends the case for federalism is in fact the case for a constitutional amendment. As I said, I’m becoming increasingly sympathetic to that idea. But I point out Katz’s comments for another reason. He glibly asserts that my motives on this and, presumably, other issues is to appear “cool” in the eyes of others, particularly Andrew Sullivan.

I hear this every now and then, particularly from self-proclaimed conservative purists and I think this is nonsense and I generally take offense to it. (It is also flatly not true about Nick Schulz who I’ve known for years and is one of my closest friends). I’m not above attacking peoples’ motives — if there is evidence about what their motives are, otherwise, it smacks of Stalinist politics. But this criticism of me is generally asserted without fact or foundation. It assumes I argue in bad faith and with a really silly motive to boot. I mean if I were trying to seem “cool” by altering my views I’d certainly come out against the drug war, which is certainly the “cool” position on campuses and elsewhere. And if I really wanted to ingratiate myself with Andrew I would not only be in favor of gay marriage but — even better — I’d stop being chatty with the Derb and start denouncing him as a walking, talking crime against humanity.

Anyway, I told Katz this and he’s responded with a gracious note so I’ve got no more grievance with him. But I have no doubt that this idea will stay around for a long time.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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